Bilateral

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Up in very good health in every respect, only my late fever got by my pain do break out about my mouth.
So to the office, where all the morning sitting. Full of wants of money, and much stores to buy, for to replenish the stores, and no money to do it with, nor anybody to trust us without it.
So at noon home to dinner, Balty and his wife with us. By and by Balty takes his leave of us, he going away just now towards the fleete, where he will pass through one great engagement more before he be two days older, I believe.
I to the office, where busy all the afternoon, late, and then home, and, after some pleasant discourse to my wife, to bed. After I was in bed I had a letter from Sir W. Coventry that tells me that the fleete is sailed this morning; God send us good newes of them!

in health
in fever
my mouth full
of wants

one body
two gods


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Thursday 19 July 1666.

Mayflower

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Up in good case, and so by coach to St. James’s after my fellows, and there did our business, which is mostly every day to complain of want of money, and that only will undo us in a little time.
Here, among other things, before us all, the Duke of Yorke did say, that now at length he is come to a sure knowledge that the Dutch did lose in the late engagements twenty-nine captains and thirteen ships. Upon which Sir W. Coventry did publickly move, that if his Royal Highness had this of a certainty, it would be of use to send this down to the fleete, and to cause it to be spread about the fleete, for the recovering of the spirits of the officers and seamen; who are under great dejectedness for want of knowing that they did do any thing against the enemy, notwithstanding all that they did to us. Which, though it be true, yet methought was one of the most dishonourable motions to our countrymen that ever was made; and is worth remembering.
Thence with Sir W. Pen home, calling at Lilly’s, to have a time appointed when to be drawn among the other Commanders of Flags the last year’s fight. And so full of work Lilly is, that he was fain to take his table-book out to see how his time is appointed, and appointed six days hence for him to come between seven and eight in the morning.
Thence with him home; and there by appointment I find Dr. Fuller, now Bishop of Limericke, in Ireland; whom I knew in his low condition at Twittenham. I had also by his desire Sir W. Pen, and with him his lady and daughter, and had a good dinner, and find the Bishop the same good man as ever; and in a word, kind to us, and, methinks, one of the comeliest and most becoming prelates in all respects that ever I saw in my life. During dinner comes an acquaintance of his, Sir Thomas Littleton; whom I knew not while he was in my house, but liked his discourse; and afterwards, by Sir W. Pen, do come to know that he is one of the greatest speakers in the House of Commons, and the usual second to the great Vaughan. So was sorry I did observe him no more, and gain more of his acquaintance.
After dinner, they being gone, and I mightily pleased with my guests, I down the river to Greenwich, about business, and thence walked to Woolwich, reading “The Rivall Ladys” all the way, and find it a most pleasant and fine writ play. At Woolwich saw Mr. Shelden, it being late, and there eat and drank, being kindly used by him and Bab, and so by water to Deptford, it being 10 o’clock before I got to Deptford, and dark, and there to Bagwell’s, and, having staid there a while, away home, and after supper to bed.
The Duke of Yorke said this day that by the letters from the Generals they would sail with the Fleete this day or to-morrow.

come to a sure knowledge
of the spirit

how it is kind to us
like a guest

down the river I find
a dark sail


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Wednesday 18 July 1666.

Poem with British Detective Series and EJKs

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A man goes camping or birding then
goes missing. Schoolchildren find

a woman's shoe on a field trip, laces
tightly tied. On the same day, a body

is found face down in the culvert,
apparently drowned in five inches

of water. Are these random occurrences,
or are there victims of foul play here?

How many evenings of intense contemplation
will it take the young detective constable

who studied Classics to tease out connections,
as record after record of his favorite opera

arias plays on the turntable? A good
reader of literature, he'll follow

the clues and collect complex leitmotifs,
revealing how the unseen hand of the author

has braided them into some other variation
of that narrative of thwarted desire. And

all the characters in this series have
such allegorical names: Trewlove, Bright,

Strange; Pilgrim, Thursday. And the main
character, with a first name no one ever

seems able to say. Evil seems so genteel,
and death so earnest and refined—the final

chokehold delivered by expensive silk
pantyhose, the fatal wound by a tiger

slinking straight out of the imperial past
into the labyrinth of gin parties and summer

schools. I kind of wish it were more like this
in real life, not the rising daily tide of

particular murders ordered by a tyrant in
his so-called drug war, executed by his bag

men and hired assassins. There is no coherence
or epiphany in EJKs: only the same MO carried out

mostly in the slums, among the poor and helpless.
Episode after episode, it goes like this: two

masked men ride up on a motorcycle. One shoots,
then they ride away. The child was sitting on her

grandfather's lap. The schoolboy, playing basketball.
The four-year-old who'd just learned to write

his name, asleep in bed. The woman on the sidewalk,
eating a late meal of sardines and rice. In pools

of blood, our children, sisters, mothers, grandfathers:
Kian, Danica, Kristine Joy. Jayross, San Niño, Bladen

Skyler. Cristina, Rowena, Roman... They
number more than twenty-three


thousand now. How many episodes and
seasons do you think that would make?




Gall

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so as to be able to rise to go to the office and there sat, but now and then in pain, and without making much water, or freely. However, it grew better and better, so as after dinner believing the jogging in a coach would do me good, I did take my wife out to the New Exchange to buy things. She there while I with Balty went and bought a common riding-cloake for myself, to save my best. It cost me but 30s., and will do my turne mighty well.
Thence home and walked in the garden with Sir W. Pen a while, and saying how the riding in the coach do me good (though I do not yet much find it), he ordered his to be got ready while I did some little business at the office, and so abroad he and I after 8 o’clock at night, as far almost as Bow, and so back again, and so home to supper and to bed. This day I did bid Balty to agree with —— the Dutch paynter, which he once led me to, to see landskipps, for a winter piece of snow, which indeed is a good piece, and costs me but 40s., which I would not take the money again for, it being, I think, very good. After a little supper to bed, being in less pain still, and had very good rest.

so free however it grew
the oak or my pen

no office led me to see winter
in the ink


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 17 July 1666.

Asking

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A hand fits inside a sleeve which becomes a wrapper over skin. Over time, the bones loosen; when they rub against each other again, they make rain.  How many times a day should one cry? The mouth’s obsessive grinding and mastication. The ear’s tendency to collaborate with earth’s gravity. I climb up a ladder to change all the broken lightbulbs: every single one has a bent and darkened filament. Nights, I’m seized with a desperate desire to know what we call the outcome of anything. From the bathroom at 3 AM, the sound of water filling the tank then stopping. A fan whirring. I always think of such things as part of the hive’s machinery, the house’s humming. I know where all the light pulls are. I snip lavender and rosemary and tie them in little sprigs. Where they lie in drawer depths, the lingering smell of death is lighter. A cloud, I decide. Or one of the feathers from a peacock, its golden eye and emerald somehow tamer. A chicken pecks in the dirt, forever looking for the ring that would have wed her to the eagle had she not lost it in her carelessness.  Shadows in the shape of wings move across patio tile.  An outstretched hand has the same meaning in any language; or an empty bowl, a broken sandal.

  

In response to Via Negativa: Uses.

 

Uses

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Lay in great pain in bed all the morning and most of the afternoon, being in much pain, making little or no water, and indeed having little within to make any with. And had great twinges with the wind all the day in my belly with wind. And a looseness with it, which however made it not so great as I have heretofore had it. A wonderful dark sky, and shower of rain this morning, which at Harwich proved so too with a shower of hail as big as walnuts.
I had some broth made me to drink, which I love, only to fill up room.
Up in the afternoon, and passed the day with Balty, who is come from sea for a day or two before the fight, and I perceive could be willing fairly to be out of the next fight, and I cannot much blame him, he having no reason by his place to be there; however, would not have him to be absent, manifestly to avoid being there.
At night grew a little better and took a glyster of sacke, but taking it by halves it did me not much good, I taking but a little of it. However, to bed, and had a pretty good night of it…

water to make rain
broth to drink
love to fill up the afternoon
sea to be absent


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 16 July 1666.

Portrait of Our Fathers Channeling James Dean or Marlon Brando

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Everyone has such a photograph 
of their fathers in their youth—

even the ones who didn't think they
could be smooth with the ladies;

not the college jock, nor the ones
in the school yearbook described

as Most Likely to Succeed. But here
they are too, the boy from the other

side of town (like the farm in Fairmount,
just off highway 150), & the boy

people remember most for mumbling all
his words; the boy who clutched a nervous

nail file in his pocket hoping no
bully ever took a shine to him, &

the awkward one who thought he was fat.
Here's the boy who shyly gave the girl

he liked the most unlikely gift of
a ripe pineapple; & the one who drank

too much so he could work up nerve
to speak to the girl at the cash

register. Here they are, posing
for pictures too: encouraged by

the studio photographer to choose
a painted backdrop, borrow a leather

jacket to throw over one shoulder or wear
unzipped over a white crewneck T-shirt &

a pair of dirty jeans. Here they are
with their hair darkly sleek, pomped

with Three Flowers, Brylcreem, or Tancho
Tique. A cigarette dangles at the edge of

their lips or at the ends of their fingers,
while the other hand rests nonchalantly

on one hip. But no one had to coach them
for that look: broody, full of aloof &

existential longing. The kind that says
you know, I coulda been a contender.

Man of faith

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(Lord’s day). Up, and to church, where our lecturer made a sorry silly sermon, upon the great point of proving the truth of the Christian religion. Home and had a good dinner, expecting Mr. Hunt, but there comes only young Michell and his wife, whom my wife concurs with me to be a pretty woman, and with her husband is a pretty innocent couple. Mightily pleasant we were, and I mightily pleased in her company and to find my wife so well pleased with them also. After dinner he and I walked to White Hall, not being able to get a coach. He to the Abbey, and I to White Hall, but met with nobody to discourse with, having no great mind to be found idling there, and be asked questions of the fleete, so walked only through to the Parke, and there, it being mighty hot and I weary, lay down by the canaille, upon the grasse, and slept awhile, and was thinking of a lampoone which hath run in my head this weeke, to make upon the late fight at sea, and the miscarriages there; but other businesses put it out of my head.
Having lain there a while, I then to the Abbey and there called Michell, and so walked in great pain, having new shoes on, as far as Fleete Streete and there got a coach, and so in some little ease home and there drank a great deale of small beer; and so took up my wife and Betty Michell and her husband, and away into the fields, to take the ayre, as far as beyond Hackny, and so back again, in our way drinking a great deale of milke, which I drank to take away, my heartburne, wherewith I have of late been mightily troubled, but all the way home I did break abundance of wind behind, which did presage no good but a great deal of cold gotten. So home and supped and away went Michell and his wife, of whom I stole two or three salutes, and so to bed in some pain and in fear of more, which accordingly I met with, for I was in mighty pain all night long of the winde griping of my belly and making of me shit often and vomit too, which is a thing not usual with me, but this I impute to the milke that I drank after so much beer, but the cold, to my washing my feet the night before.

a religion innocent
as the grass
in the abbey I walk

in great pain
having new shoes on
and heartburn

and a griping belly
making me shit
and vomit


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 15 July 1666.

Portrait of Travel Day from Hell, but with No Mood Drugs in the Form of Sticky Patches to Help Deal with the Emotions, like in that “Gridlock” Episode from Doctor Who

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All roads lead to Rome, or
back to the terminal in the
concourse where your original

departing flight was to leave
exactly on schedule—Except
flash floods on the ground in

Georgia meant a band of storms
heaving violently over the map,
interrupting all plans. Didn't you

just drop your bags off? Do you
know where they are at this point?
Loneliness is waiting with so

many others, & realizing the
names taken by the agent
off the standby list aren't

plenipotentiarily yours. In
queue again: but for what, you're
really not sure anymore. There's no

semblance of logic except the swift
topple of dominoes. All the world's
Uber drivers circle arrivals, none

vacant for long. You're still stuck.
Weather's the culprit this time: not
xenophobes, not the perpetual gridlock

you remember from Doctor Who—hover vans
zooming around, looking for the fast lane.





Junkie

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Up betimes to the office, to write fair a laborious letter I wrote as from the Board to the Duke of Yorke, laying out our want of money again; and particularly the business of Captain Cocke’s tenders of hemp, which my Lord Bruncker brought in under an unknown hand without name. Wherein his Lordship will have no great successe, I doubt.
That being done, I down to Thames-streete, and there agreed for four or five tons of corke, to send this day to the fleete, being a new device to make barricados with, instead of junke. By this means I come to see and kiss Mr. Hill’s young wife, and a blithe young woman she is. So to the office and at noon home to dinner, and then sent for young Michell and employed him all the afternoon about weighing and shipping off of the corke, having by this means an opportunity of getting him 30 or 40s. Having set him a doing, I home and to the office very late, very busy, and did indeed dispatch much business, and so to supper and to bed. After a song in the garden, which, and after dinner, is now the greatest pleasure I take, and indeed do please me mightily, to bed, after washing my legs and feet with warm water in my kitchen. This evening I had Davila brought home to me, and find it a most excellent history as ever I read.

laying out our want
under an unknown name
on a street of junk
I kiss you after business
and after a song
after great pleasure
and after washing my feet
with warm water
in my kitchen


Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 14 July 1666.